Northern Ireland

Abortion: Department to investigate impact of law changes

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The Department of Health has said it will need to examine the extent to which proposed changes to abortion law in NI would impact on provision of health and social care services.

It follows the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation) Bill passing its final stage at Westminster.

The bill says that if Stormont is not restored by 21 October, then changes on abortion and same sex marriage will take effect next year.

Currently, abortion is illegal in Northern Ireland unless a woman's life is at risk or there is a danger of permanent and serious damage to her physical or mental health.

In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson said the Department of Health had been following the passage of the bill "very closely".

"While the proposed changes to the legislation place duties on the secretary of state to make changes to the law governing abortion in Northern Ireland, the department will need to examine the extent to which the proposed changes would impact on provision of health and social care services here," it said.

"A change to the law would also require us to make changes to guidance for health and social care professionals."

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